Activists complain to EC and police against BJP MPs for ‘hate speech’

March 20, 2024 10:20 pm | Updated 10:20 pm IST - Bengaluru

A file photo of Tejasvi Surya, MP, during a protest at Nagarthpet in Bengaluru.

A file photo of Tejasvi Surya, MP, during a protest at Nagarthpet in Bengaluru.

Alleging that BJP MP Tejasvi Surya’s “inflammatory remarks” regarding a recent controversy in Nagarathpete in Bengaluru are exacerbating communal tensions during the Lok Sabha elections, two groups of activists have complained to the Election Commission demanding immediate action against him.

Tension had prevailed in the area on Tuesday as the BJP leaders, including Mr. Surya, staged a protest against the assault on a trader by a group of youth for allegedly playing ‘Hanuman Chalisa’ over a loudspeaker in his shop during azaan (Islamic call for prayer).

In their complaint, activists from Campaign Against Hate Speech and Jagrutha Nagarikaru Karnataka have stated that the MP has violated Section 123(a) of Representation of People Act, Model Code of Conduct and Sections 153(a), 295(a) 505(2) by making the inflammatory remarks.

“His statements targeting the Muslim community and attempting to create hatred between the Hindu and Muslim community on March 18 on “X” social media platform (formerly Twitter) have wide reaching consequences on voters, communal harmony, and the elections as he commands a following of 1.3 million persons,” stated the complaint.

“Subsequently, he has attempted to stoke communal hatred by calling for Hanuman Chalisa to be recited everywhere,” said Vinay Sreenivasa from Campaign Against Hate Speech. Vimala K.S. from Jagrutha Nagarikaru Karnataka, said it is evident that the MP is “attempting to create hatred between the Hindu and Muslim communities”, by calling them “Jihadis” and disrupting communal harmony in the run-up to the elections.  

Police complaint

Mr. Sreenivasa said a complaint has also been filed with the Halasur Gate police regarding the “unlawful rally” held on Tuesday under the leadership of Mr. Surya and two other MPs - Shobha Karandlaje and P.C. Mohan. 

“It may also be noted that Ms. Karandlaje also made a statement alleging that people from Tamil Nadu were involved in The Rameshwaram Cafe blast... Such statements are not only factually wrong and incendiary but also an explicit call for violence against the Muslim community,” the complaint stated.

“In order to protect these core values of our Constitution, and to ensure that religious communities are not subjected to hate speech and denial of citizenship, the ECI must ensure immediately that communal harmony during the election period is not vitiated by such candidates and political parties,” the complaint added.

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